Welsh Forestry – helping to face the challenges of Climate Change

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14 JULY 2011NEWS RELEASE No: 14786

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The European forestry project which is aiming to prove that woodlands can make a major contribution to tackling climate change announces its first findings at the Royal Welsh Show on Tuesday 19 July.

Welsh FUTUREforest experts will be announcing some of the best climate change adaptation and mitigation measures for forestry, brought together by  the INTERREG IVC project, funded by the EU and the Welsh Government.

Teams from the seven nation partnership have investigated some of the most radical climate mitigation and adaptation measures across Europe on a series of study visits.

And on Tuesday 19 July at the Confor Marquee, Royal Welsh Show, they will be launching a series of good practice guides which bring together the best ideas to help our forests survive the predicted increase in  extreme weather conditions and capture more carbon.

All the guides are available to download at: practice

“The project is particularly valuable to Wales, because many of our partners are experiencing problems which we can expect to face as our climate begins to become more like theirs,” said FUTUREforest Wales manager Dr Helen Cariss.

“FUTUREforest has given us a different perspective on what may happen in the future for our forests and the valuable insights we have gained can be incorporated into the policies being drawn up for managing the nation’s woodlands.”

The FUTUREforest team will also be giving an exclusive preview of the project’s final report – due to be launched on September 6 at the European Parliament in Brussels.

Consensus from across the regions has been that the monoculture conifer plantations across the continent are increasingly at risk from drought, pests and pathogens.

Already Forestry Commission Wales, which manages the Welsh Government Woodland Estate, is implementing a range of management techniques and silvicultural systems will play a part in creating diversity, matched to site conditions and management objectives.

Foresters in Germany and France are also moving towards these ‘plastic’ or ‘irregular’ woodlands which are expected to have better resilience to climate change.

By encouraging a mix of conifer and broadleaf in mixed age stands, relying on natural regeneration to re-stock and harvesting individual trees for high value timber they believe these new forests will actually be more profitable.

Exciting new management measures from all over Europe also cover key areas  including flood prevention, soil erosion control, the use of biomass for carbon neutral energy and new ways of increasing biodiversity.

“Our aim is to produce a document which contains information that is invaluable to foresters and can help influence politicians and policy makers across Europe – showing them how forests can play a key role in helping prevent natural disasters as well as helping to trap and store carbon,” said Dr Cariss.

Contact: Helen Cariss, FUTUREforest, Wales project manager, tel 0300 068 0087, or Guy Pargeter, Taliesin Communications. tel 01970 832375.

You are invited to send photographer/reporter to the presentation ‘Forestry – helping to make Climate Change mitigation a reality in Europe’ at the Royal Welsh Show on Tuesday 19 July at 2pm at the Confor Marquee in the forestry section.

Editor’s note

FUTUREforest is a three year INTERREG 1VC programme funded by the EU and the Welsh Government. The FUTUREforest partner regions are Wales (water management); Auvergne, France (biodiversity); Brandenburg, Germany (knowledge transfer); Bulgaria (soil protection); Catalonia (natural risks); Latvia (timber production); Slovakia (carbon sequestration). It aims to identify the threats, weaknesses and strengths of Europe’s forest as they face up to climate change; developing best management techniques to guide policy makers and stakeholders.

It also aims to improve and adapt regional and local forest management policies and practices focusing on water balance, soil, biodiversity, timber and non-timber forest products, air quality including carbon sequestration, and natural risk like fires, pests and pathogens.

The objective is to improve the effectiveness of regional development policies and contribute to the economic modernisation and increased competitiveness of Europe through exchange, sharing and transfer of policy experience, knowledge and good practices in woodland management.

The project will provide political decision makers and other stakeholders in European regions with the knowledge, tools and approaches to enable effective forestry/regional development policies and forest management practices.

It also intends to identify opportunities resulting from climate change including increased biomass production - and therefore carbon sequestration - due to changes in rainfall pattern and higher temperatures.

Forestry Commission Wales is responsible for FUTUREforest in Wales. It is the government department responsible for forestry policy and manages the 320,000 acres (130,000 ha) of public forests owned by the Welsh Government.

More information on the woodlands of Wales is available on